“Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte. Stating examples mention the rulers (i) who have harmed society and country, (ii) who worked for the development of society and country. (150 Words/ 15 Marks)

Mentor’s Comment:

Talk about the goals, aspiration, hopes and dreams etc. as ambition which drive people and their character. Bring example of leaders both (1) who has harmed the society and (2) who worked for the society by mentioning their value principles. How their value principles direct their action. Conclude by mentioning the benefits of their teachings in our life.

Model Answer:

It is good to have ambition and drive. Goals, aspirations, hopes, dreams, etc. are all good and even essential components to one’s life but it’s what directs these goals, hopes, aspirations, etc.– what motivates these dreams and ambitions—that is the truly important key behind the impetus to and eventually success of one’s life’s quests.

(i) Everyone possesses some dreams and goals. These dreams and goals should be backed by humanity, purity, honesty – a desire to not necessarily prove anything to anyone, no aims to show others but rather a wish and a hope to make the world a better place. We must decide ‘what is our driving force’ in life – if it is of a selfish nature, it will never come to positive fruition – history teaches us.

When one’s goals are based solely in the “I’ll show them” category, the rise to greatness may be fast and glorious but the impending fall is blindingly disastrous. For example: Adolf Hitler a Austrian born Germen politician who was the centre of the founding of Nazism, the main crusader who fueled World War II causing destruction to various societies and nation.

By the end of the Second World War, Hitler’s policies of territorial conquest and racial subjugation had brought death and destruction to tens of millions of people, including the genocide of some six million Jews in what is now known as the Holocaust.

(ii) Masses have been led by efficient leaders since the oldest times known to men. Such men and women have been responsible for ushering their people into a new and more modern world as we know of it now.

Although times have changed, the contributions of these great leaders cannot be forgotten and although practices and ways of doing things have changed as well, the ways of these great leaders cannot be overlooked. What made them great might still be applicable in today’s day and age.

George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Julius Caesar, Fidel Castro etc. to name few. The same zeal of leadership must also have been in Mahatma Gandhi who was born as an ordinary boy with a determination to excel at what he did.

His policy of ‘truth and non-violence’ and protest through civil disobedience eventually succeeded when he led our country to freedom in 1947. His main characteristics were resilience, knowledge, people-skills, motivational approach and leading by example.

Ashoka’s and Akbar’s compassions, benevolence rule towards their subjects have added a suffix ‘Great’ in their name which continues even today.

We should take time to examine ‘what are our principles and what directs them?’ Doing so can make all the differences in not only our world, but also in the world of those we inhibit.


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